I have always enjoyed traveling, even if it meant sleeping in a tent when I was younger. I prefer hotels and cruise cabins now, but the motivation is the same...an adventure waiting to happen. Sometimes you will find me traveling with my husband and/or family. Sometimes I will travel alone, and sometimes I will travel with friends. I hope you find it entertaining to keep up to date with me as I explore the world around me. Warning...I like to take pictures of food so don't read if you're hungry. More adventures await...see ya soon...Amy.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sapphire Princess Alaskan Cruise: Embarkation Day

Mom and Dad woke up to this view of our ship from their 180 degree view

this ship is monstrous!

Dad was right, today's rug is Saturday

lovely buffet breakfast to start our day

Gateway to Gastown

The train station. The shuttle from the airport stops here.

Inside the train station

Train stations always have a clock

Walking in Gastown

A steam clock...quite an attraction

the flower baskets on all of the light poles were still looking good this late in the season

a statue of Gassy Jack

what a way to support breast cancer research

a glimpse of our ship

Mom and Dad's door with balloons and a Happy 50th anniversary sign

so excited to finally be on the ship

our rooms are on the Caribe deck, floor 10. We were in C523 and Mom and Dad in C527. The beds had this plastic thing at the foot for unpacking our suitcases. It was gone when the bed was turned down. The refrigerator is under the TV and that's a balcony straight ahead behind the chair.

lots of pillows and drawer space on each side of the bed

a huge closet with plenty of hangers for both of us. We requested extras and were provided with some more wire ones. Behind this long mirror is shelving and a safe.

The bathroom with plenty of shelving and a long shelf underneath the sink.

The shower always had plenty of hot water and pressure. It was small but adequate.

Taking a peak on the balcony. Below us were suites that had open balconies. We could talk to the people below us. Our balcony was half covered and half open.

View of Vancouver from my balcony

view of the port and the Pan America hotel from the back of the ship

The International dining room where we had lunch and were given our assigned table for dinner every night.

A fantastic bacon cheeseburger for me. Note LOTS of bacon!

Beef Medallions and vegetables

Mom's chicken which turned out to be thighs much to mom's dismay

Danny's soufle

Mom and Dad both had this espresso ice cream and their first impression wasn't a good one

The Piazza or center of the ship. Yes, this is the ship, not a mall!

The outdoor pool

This area served vanilla, chocolate, or swirled ice cream cones for free. If you wanted a shake, there was an extra charge.

The indoor pool and hot tub

Muster station time

I skipped dessert at lunch and went to the coffee shop for this treat. This is called a peanut butter cup. It's peanut butter mousse and delicious. I sat on the balcony and ate this as we set sail.

And away we go!

Lion's Gate Bridge

Atkinson Point Lighthouse

The right side of the menu

The left side of the menu

Fabulous bread and butter!

Vegetable Spring Rolls

Prime Rib

Fettuccine Alfredo in a Parmesan Basket...delicious!

Dessert Menu

Flourless Chocolate Cake

a glimpse at our evening entertainment...this was a little wierd

Team RootBerry...these guys are awesome!!
We woke up to a cool, overcast day in Vancouver. We ate breakfast together in the hotel restaurant. The breakfast buffet was plentiful and varied with both hot and cold items. We had plenty of time before we boarded the cruise so we took a walk in a different part of downtown. This was the Gastown district named for Gassy Jack who opened the first saloon in the area in the 1860’s. We walked along and window shopped and found the most interesting thing on a corner...a steam clock! It whistles a short tune every 1/4 hour, with a full whistled song on the hour. The steam driven clock was constructed in 1977 over a major steam vent that was part of Vancouver’s original underground steam heating system. It’s original purpose was to prevent people from sleeping on top of the vent. Today it is Gastown’s most famous landmark. We also saw a statue of Gassy Jack which stands on the spot of a former ancient Maple tree. It is significant in that it is the spot where the name of Vancouver was agreed upon. We walked back to the hotel and called for a porter to take our luggage to the ship. The porter was very prompt and arrived about 10 minutes after we called. We went down at 12 to begin our trek through security and the embarkation procedure. The parking elevator in the hotel took us straight down to the embarkation area! We walked along back and forth between ropes for 35 minutes until we reached the security screening area. Our backpacks were scanned and we did not have to take off our shoes. We then waited in another line about 15 minutes where our passports were checked. Next, we had to fill out a short form about the status of our health. From there we were given a cup of water...strange...and we joked that they had probably laced our water with an antibacterial/antiviral potion. We approached a counter with a cruise ship representative who checked our boarding passes and our passport before giving us the key to our room and a small map of the ship. We walked right onto the ship at this point and went directly to our rooms to drop off our backpacks. Mom and Dad were greeted with a Happy Anniversary sign on their door and balloons! We think our rooms are great! The balcony is amazing and we had our room steward open the door between our balconies. We requested an egg crate mattress and a top sheet for our bed as well as a pair of robes. We decided to avoid the crowds at the buffet lunch and managed to find our way to the International Dining Room where we ordered from the menu for lunch. We had been given a “scavenger hunt” card which had us go all over the ship trying to find different places. This was very helpful in getting us a little familiar with the boat. The Sapphire Princess is enormous! Dad kept saying how he felt like he was in a really really nice hotel because of the beautiful atrium in the center of the boat. We spent some time back in our rooms unpacking and hanging out on the balcony before we were expected at our muster drill. This was the most comfortable muster drill I have ever attended. Our muster drill was located inside one of the lounges and we were all seated in chairs. We listened to a taped procedure and then we demonstrated that we knew how to put on our life jackets. Danny went to the workout room for a quick elliptical run while Mom, Dad, and I spent some time on our balconies and watched as we left the port. The boat runs very very smoothly, but I still have on my Scopolamine patch just in case. We went to dinner in the International Dining Room for our assigned seating at 5:30. Dinner was good and Danny made friends with our Waiter, Vasko, who is from Macedonia and specifically the town of Prilep. Danny was in Prilep just last month on a missionary journey and I think he made big points with our head waiter when he spoke the little bit of Macedonian he knew. Our Junior Waiter, Svetozar is from Serbia. This is a very international crew with 41 different nationalities represented. After dinner, we went to the evening show which is an introduction of what to expect in the next few evenings. We enjoyed the program and came back to our rooms to get ready for bed. It has been a long day, but a fun one. We are really looking forward to the days ahead.

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